How does Sleep Affect your Job Performance?
Working around-the-clock has become a new trend nowadays. The present corporate culture appreciates employees who stay back at the office, sit behind their laptop screens on weekends, and are available on-call for urgent meetings during vacation. As a result, the work-life balance has completely crumbled.
This situation is concerning because hectic work schedules and stress affect your sleep and awake hours. This relationship is two-way since not resting well also hampers your performance at work and results in low productivity. Understanding this link between sleep and job performance is vital as it may encourage you to strike a balance between your personal and professional lives. So, here is some detailed information about the same. Enjoy the read!
How is sleep linked with work performance?
Sleeping well is essential, besides exercising regularly and having a proper meal to stay physically and mentally fit. It is so because a good night's rest is imperative for your body's functioning.
When you sleep, your heart rate and breathing slow down, and muscles begin to relax gradually. The neurons in your brain start the biological processes necessary to refresh your mind and body. Entering the state of deep sleep is also beneficial for your memory because when you rest, your mind sorts information. Moreover, resting well strengthens your cardiovascular and immune systems and helps manage emotions. However, when you are underslept, all these functions get affected.
Without proper sleep, the human body works at a suboptimal level. In this condition, the neurons in the brain become overworked, the thinking process slows down, physical reactions become leisurely, and one feels emotionally and physically drained. These short-term side effects of sleep deprivation drastically affect your work and wreak havoc on your performance. If this continues for a long time, the consequences can be drastic, like a high risk of obesity, heart disease, dementia, and cognitive decline.
How does sleep loss affect your professional life?
Sleep loss compromises your ability to deliver your best at work. Here is how sleep deprivation affects work performance:
1. Affects Focus
Sleep loss negatively impacts your mental and physical well-being. It makes it challenging to maintain your focus, attention, and vigilance, which can be detrimental to your work life. Since fighting drowsiness and trying to stay awake consumes a lot of mental energy, sleep deprivation makes it difficult to focus on complicated tasks that require high concentration.
2. Causes Errors
People who do not catch on the required hours of rest are likely to make errors because of increased response time. While in some professions, it could result in missing an important phone call or not responding to a conversation in time, for healthcare professionals or truck drivers, it can mean the difference between life and death.
3. Affects Emotions
You are more likely to feel angry, irritated, or stressed when you have to work despite not resting well at night. In such situations, emotional reactions get amplified and make you overreact. If this happens at work, it may mean a dispute between colleagues or an argument with your manager. This stress and irritability can also seep into your personal life and make it harder to fall asleep. Over time, chronic sleep loss can increase the risk of mental health conditions like anxiety or depression.
Are the blurring lines between work and home destructive?
It has become common for employees to carry office tasks home for meeting their targets. This is concerning since the severed line between the office and home doesn’t allow you to disconnect from work. Experts suggest this is not ideal since being unable to psychologically detach from your job after office timings adds to work-related stress.
Some professions require employees to be available at all hours. It could be because of high demands or the nature of work itself. People associated with the healthcare profession, on-call workers, and work-from-home employees fall under this category. Moreover, nurses, pilots, industrial workers, and other shift workers also work at abnormal times that collide with typical sleep timings. This may result in shift work disorder.
These are a few consequences that could result from blurring lines between office and work.
How can you improve your job performance?
If you feel exhausted all the time, maybe you should make some changes. Here are some tips:
1. Reassess your priorities
People often give up on sleep for work or fun. They spend their time watching TV or socialising. But are these activities worth compromising your sleep and risking your job performance? If the answer is negative, maybe it is time to reassess your priorities and create a schedule.
2. Find wriggle room
If you have a hectic schedule and can't seem to manage work without compromising on your sleep, maybe you should talk to your HR or boss. Experts suggest that psychological detachment after work is vital. Ensuring employees get seven to eight hours of sleep pays off from the employer's perspective since it means improved productivity and concentration during a workday.
3. Improve sleep hygiene
You should acquire and nourish good habits that promote restful sleep. These can include maintaining the right room temperature, creating a healthy sleep schedule, optimising the bedroom environment, and eliminating daytime habits that might be disrupting your rest.
4. Talk to your doctor
If nothing else works out, consider talking to a sleep specialist. Many people have undiagnosed sleep problems like insomnia or sleep apnea, which hamper their rest and work productivity. Talking to a doctor may help diagnose the issue. If visiting a doctor is problematic for some reason, you can also take a home sleep test to be sure. If the results come positive, you should begin the treatment soon.
Having a good night's sleep is essential for both your personal and professional life. Without proper rest, your focus reduces, emotions go haywire, and chances of errors increase. All these side effects of sleep deprivation compromise your performance at work. This is how sleep impacts your productivity and compromises your ability to deliver your best at work.